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Drone Images Give Fresh Perspective on Ancient Logboats in River Boyne

3rd May 2021
An image captured by drone of the third logboat spotted in the River Boyne by Anthony Murphy, this one on Sunday 2 May
An image captured by drone of the third logboat spotted in the River Boyne by Anthony Murphy, this one on Sunday 2 May Credit: Anthony Murphy/Mythical Ireland

A citizen archaeologist may have spotted the remains of two previously unknown medieval logboats in the River Boyne.

Last week, The Irish Times reported on Anthony Murphy’s drone footage of a rectangular object in the riverbed captured on Monday 26 April, while he was observing for the dolphin recently spotted in the river near Drogheda.

The National Monuments Service (NMS) suggests this may be a vessel first discovered last year and which could be as much as 1,600 years old.

Subsequently, Murphy reported a second sighting on Wednesday 28 April, at a location some 200 metres from the previous find.

“It appears to be upside down, is very flat-bottomed and is larger than the first one,” he wrote on Twitter.

Further aerial investigations over the weekend revealed what appears to be a third logboat some 400 metres downstream of the first, west of the Bridge of Peace.

Murphy details the find on his blog Mythical Ireland, where he estimates this third vessel to be around 15ft in length.

However, he harbours no illusions that his “discoveries” have never been spotted previously.

“I’m assuming this is one of these ‘few’ logboats which NMS says it is aware of in the River Boyne at Drogheda,” he says. “However, the drone photography of same brings a new perspective on these ancient artifacts.”

As for why these remnants of Ireland’s ancient history are becoming easier to find now, Murphy believes it’s a combination of “exceptionally low” spring neap tides due to lack of rainfall, and clearer water due to reduced pollution in the river.

Published in News Update
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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